Pakistan has been exporting fish to the EU for many years but now, this sector is facing difficulties over the past few years, due to the issue of non-compliance with the Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Standards (SPSS). This situation has led to the imposition of frequent bans on exports. The EU market offers a high unit price as compared to other destinations. The need for companies to verify appropriate controls over the capture of fish, handling, storage and transport is not fully understood. The vessel owners and harbour authorities lack an understanding of the consequences of poor control and have only just begun to initiate programs to achieve increased control. Similarly, the processors lack an understanding of ‘Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point’ (HACCP) and competitive levels of good manufacturing practices. There is a need to inculcate awareness among all stakeholders of fish industry.

The relevant government department has weaknesses in the inspection system, especially in the organization, responsibility, authority, methodology and has poor understanding of the significance of public health risk, including their causes and suitable controls. It is time that all stakeholders take an interest in their responsibilities with a view to realizing the full potential of country’s fisheries sector.

MIRZA AHSAN ALI BAIG,

Karachi, May 27.